Key Discussion Areas and Takeaways:
The global market for queen conch has been booming in recent years with an estimated export of USD$74 million in 2017. On the other hand, small-scale producers and fishers in the Eastern Caribbean have not been able to fully tap into these opportunities. The newly launched project by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) with support from the European Union aims to address this very problem.
A pilot project, Seizing the trade and business potential of Blue BioTrade in selected OECS countries was launched in October 2020 for Grenada, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent, and the Grenadines. The project will not only empower small-scale producers but also contribute to biodiversity conservation by taking an innovative approach to sustainable trade and investment in marine biological resources under the framework of the 2020 BioTrade Principles and Criteria (P&C).
In recent years’ marine habitats have been under serious threat, caused by numerous factors including climate change and overfishing. Recent reports show that 11% of all marine species assessed in the Caribbean region are threatened with extinction. With the region being one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, this poses a serious threat to the livelihoods of the local population who are dependent on biodiversity for their daily sustenance and income.
Thus, how can the opportunity of the growing demand on queen conch be seized, while ensuring that its ecosystem is not harmed, and biodiversity is conserved? This masterclass will examine the potential opportunities that a sustainable value chain for the queen conch can offer in the OECS region by looking at the various tools that are used in this program.